Industry associations play an important role in many sectors, but perhaps none more so than in the data center market. At a time when our work, capabilities, and requirements are increasingly recognized as fundamental to the digital economies and societies that governments and businesses are keen to foster, scrutiny is rightly focused on our operations. Against this background, the role of associations to represent, educate, and create support for their members becomes critical. At STACK, we are willing and proactive participants in associations around the world. In the EMEA region, we not only support existing and well-regarded national organizations, but have also been instrumental in creating new ones.

Education is key

Although data centers are fundamental to the modern digital world, they are often not well understood by important influencer and decision-maker audiences. Organizations including the Swiss Datacenter Association, the Norwegian Data Center Industry, the Danish Data Center Industry, the Swedish Data Center Industry Association, and the German Datacenter Association—the latter two which STACK has recently joined—play a vital role in building understanding among these key audiences. As the industry continues to grow to meet the demands of digitalization, new regions will want and need data centers. In response, new associations will step in to educate and build understanding. We’re proud to be a founding member of the Italian Datacenter Association which will do exactly that as Italy becomes an increasingly important data center region.

Working with policymakers and informing civil society, these associations help to answer the questions and assuage the concerns that many have around data center developments. From investments to planning, from skills to catalyzing local economies, and from fair access to resources to delivering climate neutral operations, data center associations help the sector to educate all its key stakeholders. At a time of heightened concern around energy costs and supply as well as the pressing need to decarbonize economies, these associations raise awareness, participate in debate, and provide data and evidence on what we are doing as an industry to meet these challenges.

The data center industry is complex from technology, sustainability, and finance perspectives. By addressing topics of shared interest, not from a standpoint of gaining competitive advantage but with the intention of finding solutions that benefit all parties, data center associations help drive progress. Associations create platforms that elevate debate above specific sites or operators to facilitate the exchange of high-level knowledge and best practices across entire areas so that clients, communities, political leaders, and influencers can all learn from each other. Data center associations help us to better participate in these important discussions, speaking with clarity, insight, and credibility on the issues that matter to us all. For example, associations are well placed to provide industry input on energy efficiency and help regulators establish and implement metrics that will work to manage energy demand.

Speaking clearly, with a consistent, informed, and trusted voice is critical to educate stakeholders. Our work with data center associations around the world is an important aspect of this education. Ensuring that communities, policymakers, regulators, and investors have an informed understanding of exactly what we do, what we need, and our responsibilities will create the firm foundations for our growth as an industry and as an enterprise. Investing in creating, joining, and supporting data center associations wherever we operate is an essential aspect of that educational strategy. We are proud of our association memberships and will continue to contribute proactively to them all.

By Alison Gutman, VP Marcoms, EMEA